2.2.3 Drivers and barriers to reuse

Course subject(s) Module 2: Reuse

The design, engineering, and manufacturing of products is driven by business, and by the desire of companies to fulfill the needs of their clients and therefore generate revenue.

The design of products for a Circular Economy is also the design of products for new forms of business value creation. Innovative companies are increasingly understanding that designing products for service-life extension and service-life intensification can increase the value of their brand, attract new customers, and increase the loyalty of their existing customer-base.

In this video Juan Azcarate talks about the value of design for reuse from a business and entrepreneurship perspective.

Key points:

  • Innovation in manufacturing, since the industrial revolution, has made products exponentially cheaper and more easily accessible for a large part of the global population. New products have become so cheap that it is often easier and cheaper to replace a product than it is to maintain or repair the one we already have.
  • The Circular Economy attempts to balance the need of individuals, companies, and nations to create value and income, with a more sustainable approach to the use of resources.
  • The service and the sharing economy are two models which can facilitate this:
        1. The service economy is a centralized model in which a company is responsible for the production, maintenance, and management of a product. The customer then pays a fee to gain access and use of this product. This is what we frequently refer to as “Pay-per-use”.
        2. The sharing economy is a decentralized model, in which users exchange products between themselves, based on their needs. The business model of the company that manufactured the product might not have changed from its original, linear economic model. In such a case the company might not be generating any new revenue from the exchange of its products between users.
  • It is important to look critically at each of these models, and identify when they are being applied. Many “service” models are branded as “sharing” models. Understanding the difference between them will help you design and structure your own business model, and achieve the circular goals you have set out to reach.
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Engineering Design for Circular Economy by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/engineering-design-circular-economy/.
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